Hosepipe ban: Water usage warning as record-breaking spring sees reservoir levels decline

Spring has been a record-breaking season this year, with a staggering provisional sunshine total of 613.2 hours across the UK. Each of the home nations has broken their spring sunshine records according to the Met Office, making for the driest spring since records began.

Hot weather is continuing into June, and some rivers which flooded earlier this year are now running at exceptionally low levels.

The Rivers Lune and Kent in north-west England are at a similar level to those seen in the droughts of 1984 and 2011.

The low level of rain May has broken records in England with parts of the north-west, central and south-east England seeing their driest May.

Only four millimetres of rain fell in south-east England; central England recorded five millimetres and north-west England 13mm.

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Some are wondering whether this dry spring will trigger summer hosepipe bans, with some water customers urged to lessen their usage.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We work closely with all water companies throughout the year to ensure their drought plans are up to date and activated as needed.

“At this time, most companies across the country have appropriate water reserves for this time of year.

“While dry weather since late March has led to a decline in some reservoirs, this is not unusual during a hot and dry spell, and they can recover quickly when the rain returns.”

Some across the UK have been experiencing lower water pressure due to the recent hot weather, and more Brits spending time at home during the lockdown.

Residents across areas of Nottinghamshire have faced water shortages or low pressure and were given an emergency supply from Severn Trent.

The water company, which supplies the entire Midlands, on Saturday set up stations in two Ashfield supermarkets, where residents could arrive and collect emergency bottles of water.

This came as Severn Trent reported a sudden increase in the amount of water being used across the region.

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The firm estimated the area’s usage in May 2020 has been 300 million litres greater than usual.

In Ashfield alone, the water usage has been 40 percent higher than normal for this time of year, which in turn has lead to a more widely-affected shortage.

Elsewhere, in texts and emails sent to customers, Affinity Water urged Britons to use less water to bring water pressure back to normal levels.

Affinity supplies more than 3.6 million people in parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and parts of the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Enfield.

The company also supply water to the Tendring peninsula in Essex and the Folkestone and Dover areas of Kent.

Affinity wrote to customers and said: “Summer is here, and a lot of us are spending more time at home, which means many of us are using more water.

“This means you are highly likely to notice lower pressure at certain times of day.

“We wanted to let you know that we’re on it and our teams are working around the clock to make sure we get enough water to you & your community.”

However, Affinity reassured customers there “is enough water to go around” and the company said they “are treating and pumping water as quickly as we can.”

The firm asked customers to: “help bring pressure back to normal by working together with your community, using only what you need and avoiding any non-essential activities like filling up paddling pools, watering gardens and extra showers.”

Giving tips on how best to save water, advice from Affinity Water is

  • Shorten your shower – showers use between five to 15 litres per minute depending on your shower.
  • To lessen your water usage, aim for a four-minute shower.
  • Wash your car with a bucket and sponge, which uses much less water than a hosepipe.
  • Hang up your hose – this uses as much water in an hour as the average family of four uses in a day and a half.

Bookmakers Coral now makes it as short as 1/3 (from 1/2) for there to be a hosepipe ban in the UK this summer.

The firm is offering 4/9 that this summer is the hottest since records began in the UK, while this month is 1/2 to be the hottest June ever.

Coral spokesman John Hill said: “With a dry summer on the cards, a hosepipe ban is now looking inevitable according to our betting.

“This month is getting off to a fine start and as a result, we have slashed the odds on June being a record hot month.”

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